Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Only Child Syndrome?

 







People ask me all the time if I wish I had siblings. It's kind of a funny question if you think about it. I mean, I don't know any different. All I know is being raised as an only child. They typically follow that up with, "well, how was it being raised as an only child?" It was normal to me and as a matter of fact, it was normal to my parents too. The assumption is always that I was spoiled but as far as I could tell I wasn't. It was just what was normal. Everyone has their normal and for me hanging out with my parents, just the three of us, was mine. I don't think it's fair to label someone the only child, or the oldest, or middle. That is just the hand they were dealt and though many people may fall into one category or the other, chances are they still were raised very different from a person with their same "label". I also think it's strange to dwell on it. Your situation is your situation and I think we all need to be a little more aware of that and a little less judgey. All I know is that I love having siblings that were given to me through marriage. It is a lot of fun. I also love going to my mom's and having some quiet time. I guess I was dealt the best of both world's, so for that you can say that I'm pretty darn lucky. 

How fun is this vest!?! The color is perfect and it's just the right amount of fluffy. I love it and it is the perfect addition to any boring ensemble. I have it paired here with a black long sleeve shirt and the most comfortable skinny jeans. My booties are sold out so I have linked a couple of other pairs that are pretty darn close to these. The lip pencil and lipstick combo I have on compliment the color of the vest and are definitely worth checking out. 

I hope your day is amazing!


Monday, December 28, 2015

Easy Tunic and Christmas Recap







How was your Christmas!?! Ours was wonderful! Every year we go to my husband's brother's house on Christmas eve. There were about 25 of us there this year because we were without G, Miray and Miray's family since Miray is ready to pop any day now (and they live out of town). My family joins us there every year as well, so it is just a really warm and joyful gathering and the food is always out of this world. If there is one thing this family does incredibly well, it is feeding large groups of people awesome food. Since there are so many of us we have resorted to a nicer version of the classic "White Elephant" game which is fun, and then we get to watch the kids open their presents which is the best! On Christmas day Tony and I had the morning to ourselves. We made some awesome french toast and opened our gifts from each other. It was really relaxing and nice to just take our time and be lazy. We spent Christmas night at my mom's where Brucy made an awesome rib roast. We rounded out the night with a friendly match of boys vs. girls "Heads Up". All in all, it was a great Christmas and now there is only 362 days until we get to do it all over again!

This tunic is the easiest! I mean really, if you need to throw something on and run out the door this is your new best friend and it comes in five different colors. I have it paired here with the best leggings money can buy and my favorite riding boots. My boots just finally sold out at Nordstrom but they still have them on Amazon so I have that link above. They are the comfiest and just as easy to throw on as this tunic. 

I hope your week is off to an awesome start!



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie


This is a very subjective topic but in my humble opinion, I have perfected the chocolate chip cookie and I could not be happier about it. Over time, I have pieced together a recipe that I love but this year I took it upon myself to perfect it. It is the perfect balance of chewy and crunchy, with just enough, but not too many chocolate chips. The recipe in its entirety is at the bottom of this post. 


I always like to lay out all of my ingredients before I get started. That way if I forget to mix something in I have it right in front of me. First you want to cream together the butter and sugar. This is not creamed...


It is just barely mixed at this stage. Notice it is kind of chunky and has a caramel color to it. Keep on mixing. It will need about 5 minutes before it looks nice and creamy like this...


Definitely two different things. Add in your eggs and vanilla and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes. 


Sift your bread flour, salt and baking powder together into a bowl. Yes, I weigh my flour. I find that flour is the biggest culprit of messing up the taste of a chocolate chip cookie so I like to be exact on this one, especially since a cup of packed flour is very different than a cup of unpacked flour. Add your flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just enough to incorporate all ingredients together. 


Add in your chocolate chips and mix again until they are nice and incorporated. I like to mix these in the mixer because A. it's easier and B. the worst thing that happens is it might break up your chocolate chips a tiny bit which spreads them out in your cookies, which is even better, in my opinion. 


Empty your dough into a sealable container and put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight. 


When you're ready for warm cookies, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. I like to use an ice cream scoop to scoop my dough but you can just use a spoon. 


Roll your dough into balls that's about 1 inch in diameter and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake them for 12-14 minutes, or until they are nice and crispy with a dark tan on the edges but still a soft and fluffy light tan center. After they are done, let them rest for at least 3 minutes before plating them. 


Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup salted butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract (Thanks to my aunt, I am obsesses with Mexican vanilla)
12 ounces bread flour (I measure mine but it equals just under 2 1/4 cup)
3/4 tsp. slightly coarse sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Method:

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl by mixing on medium to high speed for about 5 minutes. It will be light in color and almost a fluffy consistency when done.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix on medium to high speed for an additional 2-3 minutes.

In a separate bowl sift the bread flour, baking powder, and salt together. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low just until incorporated (scraping the sides of the bowl a few times). 

Add the chocolate chips and mix on low just until evenly incorporated. 

Transfer dough to an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop and roll dough into balls that are about 1 inch in diameter and place them 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until they are nice and crispy and dark tan in color on the edges but still have a soft and fluffy light tan center. 

After they are done, let them rest for at least 3 minutes before plating them. 

Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Take Your Vitamins








So, I have been under the weather for the past couple of days. It just hit me out of nowhere the other day. Usually I can feel sickness coming on and I do my best to pump my body full of tons of vitamins and minerals, but not this time. It just hit me like a brick wall. How terrible is it that the easiest time of the year to get sick is also the busiest? As if there isn't enough to miss out on right now, I also had to miss one of our family friend's gigantic wedding this weekend. I mean we are talking close to 800 people attended. My sweet husband has totally been helping out with things around the house. He has wrapped so many presents for me and he even made me chicken noodle soup from scratch last night. Seriously thank God for him! I have managed not to get him sick (knock on wood) and hope to keep it that way. I hope you are in great health. Double up on your vitamins! We need to make it through this week nice and strong!

I love cowl neck sweaters, but this one in particular is so nice and cozy! It comes in four colors and it just went on sale!! I have it a little on the dressed up side in these pictures, but trade the heels for brown or black riding boots and you have yourself a casual look. These skinny ankle jeans are still my absolute favorite and these pumps are pretty darn comfortable. 

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to your week!












Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Attitude Adjustment








I absolutely love Christmas, but isn't funny how bi-polar the holiday's are? I mean, half the time we are in the "holiday spirit" and it is an extremely positive thing, almost euphoric. The other half of the time we are rolling our eyes, saying, "goodness, look what the holiday's do to people". It's really crazy to step back and look at the chaos that ensues over what is supposed to be a joyous celebration of Jesus' birth, family, and warmth. I was shipping some packages yesterday and I will admit, I kind of lost it, the holiday spirit that is. The Christmas lights that seem to be wrapped around my heart lately flickered out for a moment. I got really impatient with how slow people are. In reality, these people were just enjoying each other and sharing a little snippet of their lives with one another. The problem was that I didn't build enough time into my schedule for sharing and caring yesterday, when really that should be part of every day, regardless of the holiday's. By the time I got to my mom's to watch a girly Christmas movie, my holiday spirit had flickered back on, and I made the decision then to not let those little lights dim anymore this season and to do a better job at building warmth and love into everyday, even if it is only for a moment and only for a stranger. 

It has been freezing here (by San Diego standards) this week, so I took it as the perfect opportunity to wear this beanie. It is so cozy and perfect for those days when you probably should have washed your hair but decided not to. This outfit is awesome for how busy we all are during this season with gift shopping and running errands. You can never go wrong with an oversized cardigan and some Chucks. I love how comfortable a pair of boyfriend jeans are and when paired with this cozy ensemble a light wash is perfectly acceptable for the winter. 

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our Weekend












On Friday, along with my mom and Brucy, we had an awesome dinner Vintana in Escondido and then went to Carols by Candlelight, a community concert that benefits Rady Children's Hospital. It was such a beautiful concert of quite a few country artists that were rounded out by Lonestar. Lonestar is one of my all time favorite country bands and to see them in such an intimate setting of only 1,000 people was pretty darn touching. In the mortal words of my cute cousin, "it hits ya right in the feels". The grand finale was singing silent night in the courtyard with all of the artists by candlelight, and if that doesn't put you in the Christmas spirit then I don't know what will. This event has been going on for 26 years and I don't want to miss it ever again.

You guys!! How amazing are the huge cuffed sleeves on this dress!?! I wore this outfit yesterday for our sweet little nephew's 2nd birthday. We had such a nice time with the family and running around with the kids for hours on end pretty much demands flat shoes, so this was the perfect way to dress up my favorite chocolate riding boots. The material this dress is made of is such high quality and so comfortable. I love that it is fitted across the chest and top of the arms and then flares into the perfect little shift towards the bottom. I paired my boots with some super soft boot socks I think it really tied this outfit together. 

I hope you have an awesome week and good luck with all of the holiday preparations that you may have going on!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Jam Packed Season









I don't know about you, but our schedule is completely jam packed from now until Christmas, and I love it. Everything on my list to do and the places we need to be are all things that are so exciting and that warm my heart. Sure, it's a lot of gift wrapping and food prep but for some reason, that type of stuff during this time of year sends me into a complete state of euphoria. Yesterday I spent the day shopping with my cousin and tonight we are getting all dressed up for a fancy dinner and a Christmas concert with my mom and Brucy (my stepdad). It is a constant go go go, but I honestly wouldn't want it any other way. I hope your season is full of the most joyful kind of go go go!

So I like to refer to this hosiery as mullet hosiery... I mean it's like all business in the front and a total party in the back! So fun! According to the sales picture of them I am wearing them backwards but I think they look better this way. Long sleeve cowl neck dresses have been everywhere so I linked a few. You are totally able to dress them up or down and throwing a vest on over it is a great way to give it a completely new look. I have it paired here with the black booties that I am clearly extremely obsessed with and they just went on sale. 

I hope you have an amazing weekend!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree







Fun fact... My husband and his family used to own Christmas tree lots. Since they only worked seasonally during the summer, they owned and ran pumpkin patches and tree lots, including wholesale yards, in their "off" season. Tony ran his first tree lot at the age of 15 so to say he knows his trees is kind of a ridiculous understatement (haha). He loves tree lots so we go and pick out our tree at one of his friend's lots every year. It really isn't much fun going with him, though. Typically you go to a lot, check out some trees, meander around, discuss your options and then settle on one. Not us. Thanks to his experience, we literally walk onto the lot, go to the very back of the section that has the size we want and he points to one that is still wrapped up and says, "that's the one". Sure enough, once it is unwrapped it is the fullest, most gorgeous tree you have ever seen. It never fails and it is so stinking impressive, but it makes our tree buying experience rather short and dull. So this year I got smart and asked him to take pictures of my outfit with some of the trees so I could extend our time there a bit... But don't tell him ;)

I cannot find this sweater online anywhere, but it is definitely in stores (Target). I linked a few similar sweaters that I would totally own as well. I really like the oversized sweaters with not-so-long sleeves that I have been seeing everywhere. They pair really well with a long sleeve shirt. Under the sweater, I have the super soft top I have been wearing lately. It is featured in this post and this post. I have this look paired up with my go-to leggings and favorite black booties. 

I hope you are having a wonderful week. 




 

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